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Marvin Harrison Jr. Like All Other Rookies On Light First Day

Cardinals rookie minicamp quiet for wide receiver

Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. catches a toss from receivers coach Drew Terrell during the open portion of rookie minicamp on Friday.
Wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. catches a toss from receivers coach Drew Terrell during the open portion of rookie minicamp on Friday.

Drew Petzing had been talking about how the Cardinals' top draft pick, wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., was going to be like every other rookie for the team when he arrived at rookie minicamp as he transitioned into life in the NFL.

Harrison Jr. was the fourth overall pick and seen as the team's top wideout the moment he was drafted, so how does that work with such a rookie?

"In my opinion he has to be like everybody else if he is going to be the best version of himself," the offensive coordinator said. "The way he comes in and approaches his job, the way he goes out and practices, the way he integrates into the team, those are the things he has to focus on and certainly those are the things we're going to emphasize when he gets in the building."

Friday, the Cardinals held their initial rookie practice, if it could be called that. Gannon approaches rookie minicamp differently than previous Cardinals coaches; there were only a handful of players on the field. The 12-man draft class and the three undrafted rookies were joined by only one player, tryout quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, and none wore helmets.

Harrison Jr. was not available for comment, but his breakdown of his time on the field would've likely been surface-level at best.

Harrison Jr. worked on the side with passing game coordinator/receivers coach Drew Terrell during the portion of work open to media, and the defensive backs that talked afterward noted they didn't even have a drill up against the new wideout.

"He's going to come in here and go to work with his head down and carve out his role with our team and with the offense," coach Jonathan Gannon said. "That's what we expect all our guys to do, so he's not any different than that."

"I know he's glad to get immersed into our structured way of doing things and fall in line with that because he sees the value how we do that," Gannon added.

There was a reason the Cardinals grabbed Harrison Jr. when they did, with a depth chart that has Michael Wilson, Greg Dortch, Zach Pascal and Chris Moore (and now Zay Jones, reportedly).

"He's a talented player, a generational guy you don't get all the time," said tight end Trey McBride, the team's top pass catcher last season. "We're fired up to have him on the team. He's a guy who will be a problem for a lot of defenses, and I'm excited to see what (the defenses) do with him. Hopefully leave the tight end alone."

Rookie cornerback Max Melton, who played at Rutgers, got a chance to battle with Ohio State's Harrison Jr. in the Big 10 each of the last two seasons, noting that "it was no secret, I do good against him, my stock is going to rise."

"He has moves really like no other," Melton said.

The Harrison Jr. journey has begun. There will be a learning curve – and a lot more practice, since the helmets don't even come on until May 20 – and the rookies first need to mingle with the veterans beginning Monday.

That'll be the day Harrison Jr. catches his first Kyler Murray throws.

"He is the best wide receiver in this draft and to go against that every day, I'm just blessed," Melton said. "Iron sharpens iron, go off each other, and translate it to the field and try to win some football games."


Multiple reports said Friday that veteran wide receiver Zay Jones had agreed to terms with the Cardinals, further bolstering their pass-catching corps. Jones was recently released by the Jaguars but has been in the league since 2017 and would be expected to be in the mix as contributor. He visited multiple teams as a free agent, coming to Tempe earlier this week.

Jones had 32 catches last season in nine games, his season shortened by injuries.

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